David Pressgrove: Spiking with the Daily Press

I'm not one to brag, but the Craig Daily Press volleyball team is on the verge of becoming the New England Patriots of the Craig Parks and Recreation semi-competitive league.

We've bumped, set and spiked our way to league titles three of the past four seasons.

But because I'm not one to brag, the purpose for this column isn't to boast about our epic comeback through the losers bracket Tuesday night; I'm here to compliment the league.

Two years ago, the use of "semi-competitive" to describe the league was perfectly accurate. There were eight teams and only one or two of them had the ability to do more than get the ball over the net. It really was "semi" or "sort of" competitive because the two teams with some ability dominated.

In the span of one fall and two spring seasons, the league has become a place for some serious volleyball.

On Tuesday night, each of the four teams we faced had the ability to set up plays and stuff them in our faces if we made mistakes.

The spring of 2005 semi-competitive league had 14 teams, and there were very few that couldn't have won the tournament if they had a good night. Now the league could be more precisely named the "It's actually pretty competitive" league.

Although the Daily Press team's ability to win five consecutive matches -- including two against the previously unbeaten and winner's bracket champions -- was impressive, I was more impressed with how much more of a challenge it was for us this season.

During the previous two seasons, I developed an underhand jump serve.

I don't want to give away too many details about the serve because I'm planning to sell it to the U.S. Olympic Training Center (right after I sell the Brooklyn Bridge).

OK, fine, I'll tell you my secret.

Basically I go through the motions of an overhand jump serve except when it comes time to pound the ball I lightly tap it with an underhand motion. It's comical and sometimes it catches the other team off guard.

The problem is that I have yet to perfect it, so the serve lands inbounds only 15 percent of the time.

In the fall league, I broke out the serve during the championship match -- we had a 14-3 lead.

If I had even looked like I was going to attempt my revolutionary serve Tuesday, my teammates probably would have tackled me and injured me to the point where I couldn't play anymore. Our matches were all too close to take a chance on the inaccurate serve.

The Home Town Homes and Swinging Spikers teams made us look bad at times.

We might still be playing against HTH if Jeremy "Fire Bomber" Browning hadn't brought us back from an 8-9 deficit in the final game with his serve.

After 3 1/2 hours of volleyball, I had more soreness the next day than I had after a 13-mile run a week earlier.

I'm writing all of this with the understanding that our consecutive league titles bump us up to the competitive league next fall. We tried that once. Those teams consistently crushed us.

The best part of all of this is the chance to hang out with co-workers in an atmosphere where we don't have to talk deadlines, assignments and news.

For anybody else, it's a chance for friends and co-workers to get a workout once a week. The next league is in the fall. Round up your friends for some fun or for the chance to come out and attempt to de-throne the unstoppable six from the Craig Daily Press team.

But I'm not here to brag.

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